Ozuna Teams Up with National Football League (NFL) for Special Latinx Content

It’s a touchdown for Ozuna.

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the 29-year-old Puerto Rican singer/songwriter has teamed up with the National Football League for special content geared towards Latinx NFL fans.

Ozuna

The NFL has introduced new partnerships, collaborations and activations that are “designed to celebrate la cultura Latina” throughout the NFL season, including working with Ozuna.

The Puerto Rican chart-topping artist joined the NFL to advise on its season-long content vision her career, music, love and upcoming projects.for reaching Latinx fans.

Additionally, Ozuna, along with NFL legend Victor Cruz, will be featured in the campaign and support promotional initiatives.

“I’m honored to be partnering with the NFL on such a groundbreaking new initiative to highlight the diversity of their fans, especially now during Latinx Heritage Month,” said Ozuna about the partnership. “For the NFL to acknowledge, support, and encourage our culture is meaningful.”

Netflix to Premiere Season 2 of JJ Soria’s “Gentefied” in November

JJ Soria is returning to East L.A. in November…

Netflix’s half-hour Latinx dramedy Gentefied, starring the 40-year-old Mexican American actor, is returning for Season 2 on November 10.

Gentefied

From creators Marvin Lemus and Linda Yvette Chávez, the series follows East Los Angeles Latinos on their respective and collective search for the American Dream.

Season 2 picks up after the emotional debut season’s finale that saw Erik Morales (Soria) and his girlfriend Lidia (Annie Gonzalez) welcome a daughter, Delfina. As Erik realizes his grandfather Pops (Joaquin Cosio) is missing from the hospital celebration, it is revealed that he has been arrested for an outstanding warrant and his beloved pick-up truck is being impounded.

The streamer teases the return will tackle Erik and his cousin Chris’s (Carlos Santos) struggle to keep Pops in the country while dealing with new love, new babies, estranged fathers, and tracking down Bad Bunny at a Halloween party. They’ll fight to thrive, but along the way will question where they truly belong in a world made up of borders, family separation, and the potential loss of their beloved taco shop, Mama Fina’s.

Gentefied is a Netflix production also starring Karrie Martin Lachney, Julissa Calderon; and newly added season 2 cast Melinna Bobadilla, Manuel Uriza, Ivana Rojas, and Clarissa Thibeaux.

The series is executive produced by Lemus, Chávez, Charles D. King, Marta Fernandez of MACRO, America Ferrera of Take Fountain, Aaliyah Williams, Kim Roth, and Teri Weinberg of Yellow Brick Road.

Rita Moreno to Star in the Feature Film “The Prank”

Rita Moreno is pranking around…

The 89-year-old Puerto Rican actress, singer and dancer, an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar & Tony Award winner) has landed a starring role in the feature film The Prank, which will be directed by Maureen Bharoocha.

Rita Moreno

Moreno will star opposite Connor Kalopsis and Ramona Young.

The Prank follows two high school students who play a prank on their physics teacher, Mrs. Wheeler, played by Moreno. When she fails them on a test; they teach the imperious, demanding, insulting instructor a lesson by falsely accusing her of the murder of a missing student.

Other cast in The Prank includes Keith David, Meredith Salenger, Jonathan Kimmel, Nathan Janak and Kate Flannery.

Filming begins this month in and around Los Angeles.

The dark comedy is written by Rebecca Flinn-White & Zak White.

“Rita Moreno is a force of nature and an icon who continues to redefine herself,” said Bharoocha. “Her brilliant comedic mind lends itself to the perfect ‘Mrs. Wheeler’, a character we have never seen her play, and one that will no doubt surprise audiences.”

Moreno has won an Oscar (West Side Story), a Tony (The Ritz), two Emmys (for her turns respectively in 1977 and 1978 on The Muppet Show and Rockford Files), and a Grammy (Best Children’s Album for The Electric Company).

Moreno has starred on Broadway and London’s West End, appeared in more than 40 feature films and has performed in numerous regional theaters, including her one-woman show, Life Without Makeup, at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. She recently co-starred in the critically acclaimed Latinx reimagining of Norman Lear’s classic sitcom One Day At A Time.

Her documentary, Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It, produced by Lear, Lin Manuel Miranda and Brent Miller had its world debut at the Sundance Film Festival this year. The film, which was met with acclaim from critics and audiences alike, will have its television debut on PBS’ American Masters nationwide on October 5.

Moreno also co-stars and is an executive producer of the Steven Spielberg remake of West Side Story, set to open on December 10.

The recipient of the Peabody Career Achievement Award and the Kennedy Center Honor for her lifetime contributions to American culture, she was also honored by her peers as the 50th recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.

Moreno’s all-Spanish-language album, Una Vez Más, was produced by her good friend Emilio Estefan, and she is a New York Times bestselling author with her first book, Rita Moreno: A Memoir. Moreno has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush and the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama.

ABC Gives Series Order to John Ortiz’s Drama “Promised Land”

John Ortiz is headed to the Promised Land

ABC has picked up drama series Promised Land, starring the 53-year-old Puerto Rican actor’s for the 2021-22 season.

John Ortiz

In addition to Ortiz, the Latinx family drama also stars Christina Ochoa.

Written by Matt Lopez and directed by Michael CuestaPromised Land is an epic, generation-spanning drama about two Latinx families vying for wealth and power in California’s Sonoma Valley.

Ortiz stars as Joe Sandoval, the patriarch of the Sandoval family, a wealthy vineyard-owning family in the Sonoma Valley.

Ochoa portrays Veronica Sandoval, the eldest daughter of the Sandovals.

The cast also includes Cecilia Suárez as Lettie Sandoval, Augusto Aguilera as Mateo, Mariel Molino as Camila Sandoval, Tonatiuh as Antonio Sandoval, Andres Velez as Carlos, Katya Martín as Juana and Rolando Chusan as Billy.

Lopez executive produces with Adam Kolbrenner of Lit Entertainment Group, along with Maggie Malina and Cuesta. ABC Signature is the studio.

Promised Land
 is the second drama pilot picked up to series at ABC this cycle, joining music-themed drama Queens, headlined by Brandy, Eve, Naturi Naughton, Nadine Velazquez and Pepi Sonuga.

Hulu Gives Series Order to Chris Estrada’s Comedy “The Fool”

Chris Estrada is foolin’ around…

Hulu has given the Latino actor/comedian’s comedy This Fool, formerly known as Punk Ass Bitch, a series order.

Chris Estrada

Earlier this year, Hulu piloted the project, which is written and exec produced by Estrada and Jake Weisman, Matt Ingebretson and Pat Bishop with Fred Arminsen and Black-ish EP Jonathan Groff also executive producing.

The series stars rising Latino comedian Estrada as Julio Lopez, a self-described “punk ass bitch” who still lives at home and goes out of his way to help everyone but himself.

The half-hour series sees Lopez work at a gang-rehabilitation non-profit and his quest to overcome his codependency issues with his family as he navigates working class life in South Central Los Angeles. It is produced by ABC Signature. Frankie Quinones and Michelle Ortiz are set as series regulars.

Jordan Helman, who was recently appointed as head of scripted content at Hulu, told Deadline that This Fool, along with Love, Victor and drama pilot Olga Dies Dreaming, was part of its strategy to beef up its Latinx programming. “[We want] to ensure that we are reflecting our programming to the nature of the country,” he said.

“Breaking out new and distinct voices continues to be a hallmark of Hulu Original programming, and we are incredibly excited to add Chris Estrada to our roster of multi-hyphenate creators and to bring This Fool to our viewers,” added Craig Erwich, President Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment.

Junior Mesa Named to YouTube Music’s Foundry 2021 Independent Artists Class

Junior Mesa has found(ry-ed) his place on YouTube…

YouTube Music has revealed its Foundry New Class of 2021, with 27 independent artists representing 14 countries across a variety of genres, including the Latino American singer.

Junior Mesa

This is YouTube’s largest class to date since the program’s inception in 2015.

The global artist development program, which “helps independent artists use music and storytelling to engage fans across borders,” per a press release, provides artists with marketing, promotion, and development support, and tools to help set them up for long-term success.

In addition to Junior Mesa, seven Latin artists have been included on the list this year — including three who were recently featured on Billboard’s Emerging Latin Artists to Discover in 2021 list. They join other Latinx Foundry alumni like Natanael CanoEladio Carrion, Cuco and Omar Apollo.

Here’s a look at this year’s highlighted Latin acts, with quotes and more info from YouTube here:

Ambar Lucid
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Alternative/Indie
Ambar Lucid is a New Jersey-born singer-songwriter of Dominican and Mexican descent. She began to pen her own songs in her mid-teens, and ultimately put her hazy, bilingual indie-pop tracks onto SoundCloud.

“To me, being independent means having creative control and power over myself and my art,” she says to YouTube. “Success means being able to do things my way while having a loyal group of supporters with me throughout my journey.” Earlier this year, Lucid signed with independent label 300 Entertainment.

Bad Milk
Country: Colombia
Genre: Urban/Pop
Bad Milk (born Manuelita Garcia) has developed a following with her soulful vocals and urban-infused pop tracks. Her first single of 2021, “Ego,” was helmed by Latin hitmaker Ovy on the Drums, who also gave her his stamp of approval on his track “Angelito,” featuring Bad Milk and fellow Colombian newcomer Beéle.

“I love to experiment with different sounds and portray different emotions. I don’t enjoy putting my creativity in a box,” she says. “I see music as a mission. It’s definitely what I came here to do.”

Blessd
Country: Colombia
Genre: Urban/Hip-Hop
Also hailing from Colombia is Blessd (real name: Stiven Mesa Londoño), whose witty freestyle and sweet, crisp vocals are landing him major collaborations. The 21-year-old rapper, who kicked off his career in 2019, has already dropped tracks alongside Maluma, The Black Eyed Peas, Ovy on the Drums, The Rude Boyz and Piso 21.

Forming part of YouTube’s Foundry class is a great opportunity for Blessd, who mentioned that “being an artist is a dream I always had and also something I needed to do for my family. As an independent artist, I feel free.”

Junior Mesa
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Alternative/Indie
California-based newcomer Junior Mesa is bringing a fresh sound to indie music while staying inspired by the greats. With songs such as “Far Out,” “Losing my Grip” and “Pushing Away,” the singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is immersed in a trippy psych-pop sound that’s influenced by artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Jimi Hendrix and Sly & The Family Stone.

“Being independent is a mentality,” he assures. “Claiming independence is saying: We are not the same! I will not conform to your standards. I will express myself in a way that satisfies my will, not yours!”

Marina Sena
Country: Brazil
Genre: Pop
What Brazilian newcomer Marina Sena loves about being an independent artist is creating a sound that incorporates traditional genres such as Bossanova and funk with a soulful, seductive twist. “To be an independent artist is to have determination, free will, freedom,” she notes. “After starting my solo career on the right foot and being about to release my first full album, there’s nothing better than support to bet on my sound and make it reach people all over the world.”

Tokischa
Country: 
Dominican Republic
Genre: Urban
With her bold attitude and unapologetic lyrics, Tokischa is changing the Tokischa dembow game one single (and collaboration) at a time. With songs such as “Tukuntazo,” “El Rey de la Popola” and “No Me Importa” making the rounds, the Dominican trapera has already garnered the attention of artists such as J Balvin, Anuel and Karol G. “My music has no labels,” she says. “It’s a free, new wave. I’m excited to stand out in countries that are far from my culture.”

Tuyo
Country: Brazil
Genre: Alternative/Indie
Brazilian trio Tuyo — made up of Machado, Lio and Lay Soares — is making waves with an organic sound that experiments with folk music, lo-fi hip-hop and synth-pop. The São Paulo-based act says that their music is “more about a feeling” than a genre. “We mix very delicate vocals with strong rhythms. It’s music for floating, for flying. We are whole, happy, and successful when we can communicate with people through music.”

Natalie Chaidez Developing Television Series Based on the Late Oscar “Zeta” Acosta’s Novels

The late Oscar “Zeta” Acosta’s life story will be getting the Hollywood treatment…

Half-Mexican American television writer/producer Natalie Chaidez has acquired the film and television rights to the late Chicano attorney, politician, novelist and activist’s novels Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo and The Revolt of the Cockroach People.

Oscar “Zeta” Acosta

She will executive produce and supervise writing for an upcoming television series.

Chaidez is developing the project with Joe Loya and Phillip Rodriguez.

Acosta was a Mexican American activist in the Chicano Civil Rights Movement who disappeared in Mexico in 1974, a year after his second novel The Revolt of the Cockroach People was released and is presumed dead. He is also famously known for his friendship with Hunter S. Thomson, who characterized Acosta as Samoan attorney Dr. Gonzo in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

“Oscar Zeta Acosta has been a passion of mine since I first encountered his books in an East LA library. Acosta’s story is one of the deepest and cinematic stories in the Latinx canon. I’m thrilled to bring his story to life,” Chaidez told Deadline in an exclusive statement.

The televison series will feature elements from both of his published novels, the first is loosely based on his early years, and the second tells real stories from his later years during the Chicano movement while changing the identities of those involved. It’s currently being shopped around to networks and streamers.

Chaidez is currently co-showrunner on the second season of HBO Max’s The Flight Attendant alongside Steve Yockey currently in production. She was previously an executive producer and writer on USA Network’s Queen of the South and served as creator and executive producer of the Syfy drama Hunters.

Victoria Alonso to Speak at NALIP Media Summit

There’s a little moderation in Victoria Alonso’s future…

The three-day 2021 virtual edition of the NALIP Media Summit will feature a conversation with the 55-year-old  Marvel Studios’ executive producer moderated by Variety’s Marc Malkin.

Victoria Alonso

The three-day event will feature diverse creative leaders from the Latinx community that will connect with attendees through a series of sessions, workshops, exclusive screenings and mentorship opportunities.

The 22nd annual event will be held July 19-21. Additional speakers and sessions will be announced soon.

Alonso has been working in the industry for over 25 years. She began her career working in visual effects and quickly rose as an award-winning VFX producer at Digital Domain. After joining Marvel as EVP of visual effects and post-production in 2005, she worked as a co-producer on the studio’s early hits such as Iron Man, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger.

Assuming her current position in 2015, she has served as an executive on every Marvel Cinematic Universe film and television show since 2012’s The Avengers.

Alonso’s talk will stream live on July 20 followed by a signature conversation with Starz president and CEO Jeffrey Hirsch. Other speakers include actors Isabela Merced and Frankie Rodriguez.

Camila Banus to Star in the Latinx Holiday Movie “A Christmas & Postre”

It’s Christmas in July for Camila Banus.

The 30-year-old Spanish and Cuban American actress and model will headline the independent Latinx holiday movie, A Christmas & Postre from producers Autumn Federici and Jake Helgren under their production banner, The Ninth House.

Camila Banus

Banus, best known for her role as Gabi Hernandez on Days of Our Lives, will star opposite Mark Hapka in the film

Cristina Boada will write the script, which reps Colombian-American Brittany Underwood’s directorial debut.

A Christmas & Postre follows Carmen (Banus) a quirky and lovable pastry chef, dreams of one day opening her very own Puerto Rican influenced postre shop– like the one her family owned on the island. In the meantime, she showcases her treats at a local coffee shop, Coqui, where she works with her sister, Pilar. When local hotel owner, Victor Flores (David Fumero), discovers her talents, she secures a coveted pastry chef position for his grand holiday event known for bolstering the careers of pastry chefs. Carmen is paired with perfectionist chef Jax (Hapka), whom she frequently disagrees with. As they race against the clock to assemble their intricate holiday menu, Carmen and Jax realize they have a lot to learn from one another and eventually come together to create a truly inspired menu just in time for Christmas.

Melissa Marty, Terri Hoyos, and Norma Maldonado will also star.

Tanya Saracho to Make Film Directorial Debut with Adaptation of Her Off Broadway Play “Mala Hierba”

Tanya Saracho is in the (bad) weeds…

The Mexican-American actress, playwright, dramaturge, screenwriter and Vida creator is bringing her 2014 Off Broadway play Mala Hierba to the big screen, and she’ll be directing the film adaptation of her acclaimed project.

Tanya Saracho

In her film directorial debut, Saracho has teamed up with Anonymous Content to adapt the Texas border town set drama.

The film version of Mala Hierba  will be produced by AC Studios, with Dawn Olmstead, David Levine, and Whitney Dibo overseeing the project for outfit.

Former Vida EP Stephanie Langhoff, and Christine Davila, head of development and production at Saracho’s Ojala Productions, will serve as producers on Mala Hierba.

Originally opening at Second Stage Uptown nearly six years ago, the play unravels the coiffured life of a Lone Star State trophy wife who begins to see the cracks in her life of wealth and privilege as her first and perhaps true love reappears. The possibility of a renewed life together for the two women forces the Liliana character to make a searing decision about what she wants and who she is.

The stage production of Mala Hierba was directed by Jerry Ruiz and starred Marta Milans, Sandra Marquez, and Ana Nogueira in the primary roles.

The union with Anonymous comes just over a couple of weeks after the active Saracho launched the Ojalá Ignition Lab in conjunction with UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group.

Part of the acclaimed playwright and filmmaker’s 2020 inked development deal with the studio, the incubator program for Latinx voices will provide five writers and their own proposed projects with mentoring from experienced showrunners and EPs, including self-described “den mother” Saracho and an extended network to draw on for the future.

Since Vida, which won a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, finished its three-season stint on Starz in May 2020, Saracho stayed in Britain during the pandemic to work with musician and Lovesick actor Johnny Flynn for an upcoming project.